(Originally recorded as a podcast: https://kspr.co/Podcast57)

Want to Know More About High-Performance Teams?

Hi, friends! Welcome back to With Great People, the podcast for high-performance teams. I’m Richard Kasperowski.

Way back in 2020, we did a webinar on high-performance teams in conjunction with the Scrum Alliance. (Thanks, Scrum Alliance friends, for hosting me!). In case you missed it, we’ll include a link to that webinar in our podcast notes.

We had a ton of questions after the event — people wanted to learn more. I want to make sure we answer everyone’s questions, so that’s what this episode is about…

Cue the piano:

If you don’t want to see me…
I did a full one-eighty, crazy
Thinking ‘bout the way I was
– from Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now”

I did a full one-eighty in my teaching, coaching, and consulting work. As recently as March, I advised clients that if they care about the product they’re building together, they need to be collocated and working together in real-time. If they’re working on a less important product, then at least try to work together in the same time zone. …

Joanne Stone and I recently had a great conversation about wicked problems. I love the word wicked. It’s a wonderfully positive word in my native New England vernacular. We use it to amplify or express the superlative of an idea: a wicked good movie, wicked awesome lobster dinner, a wicked nice day at the beach.

The idea of a wicked problem comes from the realm of social planning in the 1960s. It describes any problem that is too complex to just solve — where there are innumerable challenges, there’s no obvious end-point, there are incomplete data or contradictory or changing…

Team Communication in Times of Crisis

Once upon a time, a very long time ago — also known as “February 2020” — my personal and professional life consisted of being together and communicating with other people face to face.

I gave talks at conferences, business coaching sessions in my clients’ offices, and professional training in their classrooms and in universities. I traveled all around the United States, my home country, and around the world, working to bring teams together so that they could collaborate and perform at their best. …

You probably don’t think about your team as a piece of software, but there are plenty of parallels. A great team is one in which everyone works together seamlessly and intuitively. We grow and augment each other’s productivity and performance. We get stuff done together. Doesn’t that sound a bit like the perfect software application? When you find a great app, it tells you something about the team that created it.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

First, and most importantly, how are you and the people you love the most? My wish for you is good health.

This global health crisis is unprecedented in every sense — medical, economic, social, and psychological. We’re in uncharted waters for humankind. It’s a time of uncertainty, and it’s testing people’s resourcefulness to the limit.

Suddenly we’re all working remotely — at least the fortunate ones of us who can. I’m genuinely grateful to be able to continue working remotely with clients and colleagues. I’m thankful I still have enough revenue to support myself, my family, and my team of…

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

“I feel unsafe here!”

Millennials get a bad rap for snowflake-like sensitivity and delicacy. It’s impossible to criticize anything a Millennial says or does — so the story goes. They’ll call you out on it and accuse you of creating an unsafe space.

Millennial or not, sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to respectfully and constructively disagree with anyone at work. We tiptoe around each others’ feelings. We’re too uncomfortable to state an opposing viewpoint for fear of getting called out on “safety.” Our ability to do great work together suffers.

Conflict is psychological safety

Nowadays, the term “psychological safety” has come to be (mis)used as a trump…

Cuando era un bebé, viví con las monas durante tres meses.
When I was a baby, I lived with the monkeys for three months.

Photo by Tj Kolesnik on Unsplash

My Spanish teacher tilted her head sideways like a puppy trying to understand the world through new eyes. My words were correct. My pronunciation and accent were fine. The sentence was grammatically correct. It just didn’t quite make sense.

True story: I was adopted when I was a baby. I had just met my birth mother the week before, as a 49-year-old grown-up. I was trying to tell my teacher the story: when I was a…

Want an easy tool to help you start building the best team of your life?

That’s what the Team Transformation Canvas is: a practical worksheet to help you and your teammates discover the best in each other and put it into action.

The canvas facilitates individual self-awareness of your current emotional state and desired personal outcomes. It helps you develop a deepened understanding of what drives your behaviors and actions. By identifying and owning these intrinsic motivations, you align your future actions with your most inherent needs, creating your unique pathway to professional and personal self-actualization. …

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This includes the fundamentals of human nature: what motivates us, how we work together in groups, how we collaborate and communicate. The essential truths are unchanged — from the earliest human tribes just trying to survive, to the high-performance teams of today.

The Core Protocols — derived from research and practice in a previous millennium — are like that. They hold up just as well today as they did decades ago, in any situation where two or more people are working towards a shared goal together. …

Richard Kasperowski

Author, teacher, speaker, and coach focused on high-performance teams. Author of High-Performance Teams: The Foundations. Teaches Agile at Harvard University.

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